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Saturday, August 24, 2002
ARRRRRG! Sorry. Lost my head there for a moment. I've been spending most of Friday evening, all today and probably most of Sunday putting together the Robert A. Heinlein Society newsletter. I planned on eight pages, then had to expand to 10 because of the verbosity of column writers (that's right, I'm talkin' to you David Silver) . THEN I discover I formatted the pages incorrectly. Mumble, mumble.
Needless to say, there will be few posts today or Sunday.

Do ya think? Adelina Domingues, the oldest living American, died this week.
"I just think at 114, it was just her time," her granddaughter Deborah Murphy said Friday.
John McMorran of Florida is now the oldest living American. Born on June 19, 1889, he is 113.

Friday, August 23, 2002
The difference between us and them: CNN reports that federal authorities arrested a Florida man who planned bomb attacks an Islamic education center. I post this article knowing absolutely nothing about the Islamic education center in question. More than likely, the people who attended this mosque were law-abiding and peace loving as any other Americans. Perhaps, but probably not, it was a hotbed of anti-Americanism. It. Does. Not. Matter. The Feds jumped in to protect people, regardless of their religion or politics and that is as it should be. I was never more proud to be an American than I was on Sept. 11, when President Bush -- a man I neither not liked nor respected previously -- made it clear to the American people that his administration would not tolerate acts of vengeance against people or Arab decent or those who practice Islam. In Germany, police stormed the Iraqi embassy to free hostages. The hostages were pro-American and anti-Saddam. It. Did. Not. Matter. Civilized nations obey the rule of law. This is a foreign concept to those nations who foster terrorism. This is why we are the good guys and they are the bad guys. There is no moral equivalence between us and them.

Philly Daily News caves to racism complaints: The Daily News, in a story about wanted fugitives, pictured 18 police mug shots of people for murder by Philadelphia police. All were either African-American, Hispanic or Asian. The next day, a page three story was accompanies by a sketch of a man wanted for murder. The suspect is black, the victim was white. A radio talk show host said the story was accurate, but criticized the paper for singling our blacks. The son of the city's black mayor said the story would bring heat down on all black males. The newspaper, responded by apologizing.
Daily News Managing Editor Ellen Foley said there was no intent to frighten or intimidate people of color.
"We apologize if the graphic treatment offended black Philadelphians," Foley said. "We were trying to explore and provide accurate information about an issue of great concern to our community. We welcome comments and criticism from our readers on any issue, especially sensitive issues such as this, because it helps us get better as journalists and truth-seekers."
Foley encouraged readers to contact the Daily News by calling Lorenzo Biggs, assistant to the editors, at 215-854-5030 or by sending a letter to the editor to the Daily News, Box 7788, Philadelphia, Pa., 19101.
A perfect response, except for the apology. Newspapers that write accurate stories about matters of public importance should never, ever apologize because someone is offended. Newspapers have no responsibility to tweak the news to or ignore a story because it might put any race, ethnic group or religion in a positive light. Would the Daily News have apologized for an accurate story about an important subject because it made the Republicans or Democrats look bad? OF course not. It is no secret that prisons are filled with black men. It's a tragedy. It's a problem that must be addressed, and problems that are ignored are never solved.

Update: The Medianews.org link to the original story and pictureswas still up and running of of 7 p.m. Friday.

Thursday, August 22, 2002
Thievery defined as private sector socialism: Courtesy of medianews.org comes this story of some Subway employees who thought they would help out some firefighters by taking them bottled water than normally would be for sale at the store. The owner found out and told the workers to cough up the $34. Well, the media found out and printed a story that was, of course, sympathetic to the employees. The owner, stung by bad press, decided it was all a matter of miscommunication and said the boys won't have to pay.
Several thoughts:
1. It's easy to be compassionate with someone else's money. Politicians are always scoring points for being compassionate on someone else's dime.
2. These guys did not own the property they were giving away.
3. Why wasn't the city fire department supplying the firefighters with the water they needed? I am sure part of the property taxes the store owner paid is supposed to go to the fire department.
4. How would you feel if your employer deducted $34 from your paycheck without your permission, even if it were for a worthy cause to which you might have donated had you been asked?
The Subway owner is not the villain here, folks.

"Buffy" is the big bad for this group of pucker-butt morality Nazis: I do not use the term "Nazi" easily. The Nazi's send millions of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and others into the gas chambers. But the Nazi's did other things, like banning books and burning art. According the "Ain't It Cool News" Web site, a new group has formed that wants get shows it finds offensive off television, making themselves the similar to Nazis in one defining aspect
Uh oh! If your parents belong to the Parents Television Council, you probably won?t be allowed to watch the best show on TV a whole lot longer.
The organization has deemed "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" the least family-friendly show on network television. (Like UPN is a network! We kid! We kid the United Paramount!) "Friends," "CSI," "Boston Public" and "That '70s Show" were among the other wildly popular shows ranking among the org's ill-considered 'bottom 10' list.
For the complete poop, go to the site itself and read the article.
Why put 'Buffy" at the top (or would that be bottom?) of their list? Because it has lots of violence. Doubt it. There's really not a lot of gore. When vamp's get spiked, the turn to dust. The action is mostly theatrical martial arts, with people being hit full force in he face and vital organs without little damage except getting the wind knocked out of their sails. Maybe its all the demons and witches. It certainly has something to do with he fact that a major character is a lesbian. "Buffy" is funny, sexy and genuinely dramatic. It lacks the critical acclaim of "Boston Public," a predictably overwrought, overly sensationalized, clumsily topical David E. Kelly piece of crap.
I hate groups like the "Parents Television Council." They are a blood-sucking tick on the butt of public discourse. They have no real interest in educating parents about bad television. They exist to scare nickels and dimes out of little old church ladies.
As a member of the American public, I am annoyed that this group of mouth-breathers think I am so stupid that I need a list from them telling me which program are safe for me or children to watch.

The NYT flap: When a letter posted on the Romenesko's Medianews.org site characterized the criticism of the New York Times coverage of the pending war against Iraq as a case of "hawks" objecting to balanced coverage, I sent in a letter, which was published. Wrote letter-writer Gil Jose Duran:
"The hawks demand a cohesive front, whether or not it exists. Well, good for the New York Times."
"Anyone who doesn't inspect this invasion very carefully is a little too eager to waste lives -- both American and Iraqi. A journalist's job is to get the truth about the world, not to attack other journalists for doing just that."
This was my response:
"Gil Jose Duran's letter in defense of the New York Times misses the point. Complaints from the right wing about liberal media bias are a fact of life with which newspapers and broadcasters must contend, whether they are the New York Times or the Peoria Times-Observer. The NYT gave the right wing another round of ammunition when it misrepresented the position held by Henry Kissinger. They have no one to blame but themselves."
I was pleased and happy to have a letter appear on the site. Romenesko is one of my Blog heroes. It prompted this reply from Tim Nord. This is his letter to me and my responses:
I was going to write a letter to MediaNews, but decided that this issue has started going around in circles. However, I did want to make this point. While I agree that the Times is more biased than it should be, the Bush > Administration has been spinning this issue so thoroughly that the average American is pretty ill-equipped to know what is at stake.
The average American, should he or she decide to get all the facts, is better equiped than citizens of any other nation on Earth to get the facts about what is at stake. You can thank the 1st Amendment for that. One of the things at stake is whether not we let it be known whether or not we tolerate attacks against us without making an adequate self defense.
Conservatives point to polls showing a majority of Americans in favor of a war. But upon what is that opinion based? Do they understand the general lack of support from our allies?
And your point is what, exactly? France and England aren't yet "with" us? As a sovereign nation, we do not need the permission of Europe to defend ourselves.
Do they understand the difference between Saddam and Hitler (and there are differences here)?
Yes. Hitler was a threat to Europe. Saddam is a threat to the United States and Israel. No wonder Europe doesn't see the need to defend itself against him.
Do they remember that we were able to manage the Soviet threat without going to war?
The Soviets, while every bit as evil as Hitler and Saddam, were responsible and rational holders of nuclear weapons. Saddam is not. And remember, there were times we used military power to stop Soviet and Communist aggression.
Do they truly understand the volatility of the Palestinian issue?
Oh, yeah, right. Sure wouldn't want the situation over there to deteriorate.
Do they know that there has yet to be any concrete (i.e. not rumor, not coincidental) evidence linking Saddam to 9/11 or al-Qaeda?
What concrete evidence do you want? A video tape. Our intelligence sources have information that the hijackers met with Saddam's intelligence officers before the attack.
Do they know that Saddam hasn't invaded any of its neighbors since it was defeated in 1991?
And I am certain this has nothing to do with the no fly zone, but the kindness in Saddam's own heart.
I agree with you: the Times' should do a better job protecting its reputation and its credibility. But sometimes you have to take unusual measures to get the public to take up to a problem.
Such as misrepresenting the truth? I think the Times, in its zeal to get a certain POV on the front page, overstated the case. Your implication that because the impending war with Iraq is so serious, a newspaper should abandon objectivity. Wrong. It is in these dire circumstances in which readers need to be able to count on newspapers and broadcasters to be the most objective. It's easy to be objective when reporting about a water rate increase. Abandoning objectivity, which is appears the NYT has done, has little to do with necessity, but with an inability to resist temptation.
The hawks are so convinced of the rightness of this crusade that they feel the need to shout down and dismiss any counter-arguments. That's more dangerous than a newspaper with an agenda.
I disagree. Politicians are *supposed* to present their case with zeal, whether from the right, left of mushy middle. The American people know this. They take the words of politicians with a grain of salt. What newspapers are supposed to do is accurately report on what the politicians are saying. No salt needed.

Crossover voting is anti-democratic: Rep. Bob Barr (R-Georgia) and Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia) are two sides of the same irresponsible coin. Barr never hesitated to express as gospel truth the worse sort of slander about Clinton, and McKinney did the same to Bush Jr. Both lost their pprimary elections this week, thanks to crossover votes, a despicable practice that allows members of one party to pick the nominees of a different party. It is fundementally the same practice as letting the KKK chose the board of directors of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Or in letting the United Auto Workers pick the leaders of the Chamber of Commerce. All in the name of making the process more democratic.

Bill Mauldin in Italy during World War IIIn praise of Mauldin: Bill Mauldin was to editorial cartooning what Ernie Pyle was to newsmen. Mauldin slugged through the same mud and muck that the average G.I Joe did in World War II. His "Willie and Joe" cartoons appeared in Stars and Stripes, and later, Mauldin appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, where he won a Pulitzer Prize. He is sick now, and in the hospital. The Chicago Tribune's Bob Greene has started a get-well-card campaign.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002
Thanks for nothing, Britain: This tidbit courtesy of Skynet News.
Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi is to head an international watchdog on human rights.
Libya is to be elected chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights - despite its links with terrorism and torture.
The move sparked a storm of controversy as it emerged British officials did nothing to block the appointment.
Libyan terrorists were responsible for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, which killed 270 people, and Gadaffi's regime has been criticised for violence against its own people.
Folks, this is proof that the United States has no business getting involved in international civil rights organizations, international courts or other schemes that deprive us of our right to act in our own interests. The "United Nations Commission on Human Rights" is not a means to guarantee rogue nations are held accoutnable. They are a means for rogue nations to accuse us of beign criminals. The international court is such a bad idea, even the ultra-liberal T.V. show "West Wing" came out against it.

Newspapers need to be more than objective: This New York Observer article doesn't denounce objectivity, but it asks that other voices be allowed as well. Good article.

He's a blockhead, so he's halfway there already: Seriously, I am dumbfounded at all the Dubya worship going on out there. Granted, lil' Georgie Bush is a vast improvement over the lying weasel he replaced, but he is no F.D.R. or Truman in the war-time presidential leadership department.

damn coulter (mumble, mumble): I hate it when that hateful shrew says something I agree with.
The only just wars, liberals believe, are those in which the United States has no stake. Liberals warm to the idea of American mothers weeping for their sons, but only if their deaths will not make America any safer.

New Times prints fake news once, get caught, does it again: For those who missed it, the Los Angeles New Times printed a story saying those two girls from California who were kidnapped and raped had signed on to be hosts of a new reality series on NBC called "Survive This!" Several media organizations picked up the story and ran with it, including the Drudge Report. Romenesko's Medianews.org reported it as a hoax and Drudge Report pulled the story. The New Times responded with a second fake story, this one saying the fictional reporter who wrote it had been fired. Rather than be embarrassed, they decided to have a little more fun, oblivious at the damage it was doing to its own credibility. Apparently, the New Times believes only an idiot would believe anything that appears in its pages. I am reminded of hoaxsters who send out real-looking press releases, then react with absolute amazement that anyone would print them. "Ha, Ha, look at that idiot Drudge, he printed our lies! Hey, Drudge, you f***ed up, you trusted us!" Guess what New Times, from now on, I and thousands and others will know better to believe you about anything. To be safe, we all now must assume anything that New Times will be assumed to be a lie or a joke. Maybe the New Times was trying to prove a point about how the media cannot be trusted. Perhaps they accidentally proved the opposite point, that in general what appears in print has is true, otherwise, the Drudge Report and other outlets would not have picked up it without checking. Generally speaking, the quality of American journalism is fairly high compared to other countries. But I think New Times got what it wanted. From now on, there is at least one publication that everyone knows cannot be trusted to tell the truth: The Los Angeles New Times.

PETA equates al Qaeda with cancer researchers: Just as I predicted. When I first saw footage taken by al Qaeda of animals being killed during their testing of chemical weapons, I knew People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would be upset. But I also knew they wouldn't be mad at al Qaeda. They would instead draw parallels between al Qaeda and the people who use animals to test drugs. PETA's Website has footage of testing done by the Israelis. But PETA's position is that all animal testing is morally wrong, even if it is done to test drugs that could cure cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis. muscular dystrophy, etc. This is a quote from a PETA spokesperson:
What the al Qaeda did to that dog was appalling, but let's be honest with ourselves that we and our allies are guilty of the same sort of barbarism."
Let's get this right. According to PETA. doctors trying to cure fatal childhood diseases are on the exact same moral ground as al Qaeda, which crashed two jets into the World Trade Center, one jet into the Pentagon would have crashed a fourth into the White House. The exact same sort of barbarism. Those are PETA's words, not mine. Like all good liberals, PETA hates mankind, but loves animals. They hate their own country, but love its enemies. Every dime given to PETA is a dime given to an organization that sides with the people who want to destroy the United States of America.
Update: I took a look at PETA's Web site and it's even worse than I thought. They use the al Qaeda tape as a lead in to its main beef: military chemical testing by the U.S. and Israel. Why complain about animal testing to an organization that is on the run, and isn't subject to political pressure by PETA members? Either it never occurred to PETA - or they don't care - that the military needs to test these chemicals because they need to know how best to protect the soldiers against chemical attacks. The next big terrorist attack against the U.S. may very well be a chemical one -- and here is PETA, mobilizing its members to lobby our leaders to stop research into ways to understand chemical weapons and how to defend against them. Why? Because as far as PETA is concerned, no human ever born is worth the life of any animal whatsoever.

Newsflash! "Teens say pot is easy to obtain": Well, knock me other with a feater. That was big, bold headline above the page 1 story of the Peoria Journal Star on Friday. It shows two things.

1. If this is shocking news to the editors of the PJS, none of these guys grew up in my neighborhood. Probably somewhere in Utah. Or Morton, Ill.
2. It's evidence that the marijuana should be legalized, but instead will be used as an argument to spend more money fighting drugs.

Coulter: McVeigh should have blew up the New York Times: Granted, the New York Times isn't very well respected these days by journalists who value objectivity. But Ann went a little over the top in a recent interview with George Gurley of the New York Observer.
We headed down Fifth Avenue and talked about The New York Times.
I told her I usually read The Times before bed, because it depresses me.
"Oh, it totally gins me up, it works like coffee," she said. "I read it like a wolf."
How about all those very unflattering pictures they like running of conservatives, I asked. "Oh yeah, oh yeah," Ms. Coulter said. "They ran not one but two photos of George Herbert Walker Bush throwing up in Japan. Not one, one was not enough! Two photos of that. Is your tape recorder running? Turn it on! I got something to say."
Then she said: "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."
I told her to be careful.
"You're right, after 9/11 I shouldn't say that," she said, spotting a cab and grabbing it.
That's our Ann, being her typical, pro-life self.

Newspaper intern earns 'A' in ethics: A newspaper intern witnessed a two-car crash. He raced to pull a victim from the vehicle moments before it exploded, then took the front page picture. Just like the theoretical incident we all discussed in j-school ethics class. I'd say this guy gets an "A." Thanks to Romenesko's medianews.org for the link.

Did Coulter lie about her age? Ann Coulter, the telegenic blonde who simple-minded opinions are considered important enough to make her a media maven, in a recent interview, says she is 38, not 40, as most of the media insists. Who is right? Is she 38 or 40? If the blogosphere can expose Cynthia McKinney as the Jew-hating, friend-of-or-enemies that she is, certainly we can expose Coulters' real age. Anyone know when and where she graduated high school or grade school? Why would Coulter lie? Because she knows that once she is past 40, the bloom is off the rose. She knows that hormonal male conservative fans will cringe at the thought of lusting after he, and her popularity is due to the "flirt factor," as she herself admits. Myself, I think older women are sexy. But maybe Coulter doesn't want to risk it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002


brought to you by Quizilla

The Return of the Pamphlet: I like that. That's what the New York Times called blogging. Not much lucid has been coming out of the NYT since the Raines started to fall. I surfed to this San Jose Mercury News site after coming across a link at medianews.org. I expected to dig up dish on the University of California--Berkley's plans to offer a course in blogging, which makes about as much sense as offering a course on setting up a Hotmail account. But I digress. The article said:
The New York Times calls the blog the return of the pamphlet in which one has complete freedom of expression, something not always possible in establishment journalism.
Anyone who has tried to get a correction from the NYT can attest to that.
Who are the new pamphleteers? Who will be the Thomas Paine of blogging? Andrew Sullivan? Eric Alterman? Andrew Olmsted? I vote for the guy who runs Media Minded, my personal hero in the blogosphere. Of course, in real life Tom Paine was considered a crank and he died penniless. So the next Tom Paine may be Rodger Schultz or Count De Money.

Monday, August 19, 2002
A modest proposal for bloggers: Grow some common sense people! There was a story circulating around the Internet, including the Drudge Report, about those two girls in Californis who were kidnapped and raped having signed a contract with NBC to host a reality show, "Survive This!" Turns out it was 100 percent hoax, folks. These kind of scams are common. This hoax story is still on Blogdex.

Newsweek to bloggers: Get a Life! Steven Levy, himself a Blogger, contents the vast majority of blogs are are unimportant.
But the bigger story is what's happening on the 490,000-plus Weblogs that few people see: they make up the vast dark matter of the Blogosphere, and portend a future where blogs behave like such previous breakthroughs as desktop publishing, presentation software and instant messaging, and become a nonremarkable part of our lives.
So what kind of Weblogs live in the dark matter? There are endless personal journals like Zack's, exposing thoughts and experiences that range from the somewhat profound to the stultifyingly banal. There are collectively millions of links to obscure items tucked in dusty recesses of the Web. There are blogs devoted to cats, blogs about knitting, blogs about 802.11 wireless standards, blogs about "The Golden Girls" TV show, blogs about baseball, blogs about sex (hey, it is the Internet). One blog is written in the voice of Julius Caesar, tracking the Roman's progress as he takes on Gaul. There are blog short stories and a blog novel in progress.

Lets look at Levy's own blog. Hmm. Pretty boring. I wonder how many people would visit if he were not associated with Newsweek and MSNBC. Not as many, I bet, as does the 30 or so who visit the blog created by Zack, the "insecure" high school-age kid Levy makes fun of at the beginning of his article. Glass houses and all that, Mr. Levy.

Just wait: Israel and the "Palestinian Authority" have agreed to terms of an Israeli pullout from Gaza. If this keeps up, it could lead to peace. Because peace is too horrible to contemplate, Hamas will arange for another homicide bombing. I predict that it will occur sometime Monday (U.S.A. time).

One less we have to worry about: Abu Nidal is dead. In the 1970s and '80s, he was the most feared and vilified Palestinian terrorist alive. Recently, he had been living in safety in Iraq -- proving that there is evidence of Iraq is a host nation for terrorism. He was found dead of gunshot wounds. But perhaps this is a canard in advance the invasion.

Wisdom from a Hollywood airhead: Sept. 11 attacks were a good thing, says actress Susan Sarandon. According to this article, the actress said one of the positive results of the September 11 attacks was that it gave America something in common with other countries who have fallen prey to terrorism.
"Afterwards, I said to my kids: 'We've joined the rest of the world now'," she said.
"You're so lucky. In Ireland, England and Spain; everyone there already knows what it's like to have inexplicable terrorist violence."
Lucky. Yeah. That's the word I was thinking of. Actually, Susan, you are lucky you live in the United States. In any non-free country, you would have been among the first tossed into the camps.
Prediction: As news of SS's moronic statement spreads, she will go on Entertainment Tonight and complain that criticism of her is unfounded. I suggest peopel read the entire interview.

Sunday, August 18, 2002
With power comes responsibilitude! The Amazing George W. swings into action courtesy of Tom the Dancing Bug.

NYT credibility dropping: Since Howell Raines became editor of the New York Times, the venerable newspaper, arguolably the best the United States has to offer in terms of reporting strength and ethics, has dropped. Its front page seems devoted to convincing the public that there should be no invasion of Iraq. Possible plans for said invasion are leaked and immediately published. This is what columnist Charles Krauthammer said about the NYT:
Not since William Randolph Hearst famously cabled his correspondent in Cuba, "You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war," has a newspaper so blatantly devoted its front pages to editorializing about a coming American war as has Howell Raines's New York Times. Hearst was for the Spanish-American War. Raines (for those who have been incommunicado for the last year) opposes war with Iraq.
The NYT also misrepresented Henry Kissenger's views on an Iraq invasion from concern about its complexity to outright opposition.

It is clear that the Washington Post is stepping up to the plate as the most believable mainstream objective newspaper.

NASA mindreaders: No comment:
Airport security screeners may soon try to read the minds of travelers to identify terrorists.
Officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have told Northwest Airlines security specialists that the agency is developing brain-monitoring devices in cooperation with a commercial firm, which it did not identify.
Space technology would be adapted to receive and analyze brain-wave and heartbeat patterns, then feed that data into computerized programs "to detect passengers who potentially might pose a threat," according to briefing documents obtained by The Washington Times.
NASA wants to use "noninvasive neuro-electric sensors," imbedded in gates, to collect tiny electric signals that all brains and hearts transmit. Computers would apply statistical algorithms to correlate physiologic patterns with computerized data on travel routines, criminal background and credit information from "hundreds to thousands of data sources," NASA documents say.

OK. I lied. Here are my comments:

1. Remember, the Washington Times is owned by the wacko Unification Church, so this report may be suspect.

2. MInd reading technology? From NASA? I suggest they don't point their mind-reading mahcine at me, or they will learn what I think about this bungling organization.

3. Nobody tell John Ashcroft about this.

4. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out NASA sould spent more time on, say, returing to the moon.

Ann Coulter's big head: I mean that literally. Check out her site. FOUR headhots, all in a row.

The Struggle Continues! In fact, some might say the struggle is never ending.

The war with Iraq has started! According to Asia Times, which has all the details.

Damn good advice: "10 Tips for Writing on the Living Web."

Farrakhan will stump for McKinney: Of course he will. Cynthia McKinney is a congresswoman from Georgia who claims George W. Bush planned the attacks on the World Trace Center for financial and political gain. On Sept. 11, McKinney's campaign was flooded with donations from people associated with groups sympathetic or linked to the terrorists. Louis Farrakhan, minister of the Nation of Islam, criticized the terrorists in the days after Sept. 11, but now seems to be reverting to nature. McKinney's opponent is the favorite candidate of the evil Jews. McKinney's opponent is a Denise Majette, a former judge and a Black Democrat who takes a pro-Israel stand during a time in which Israel and the United States have the same enemies. No wonder Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader and other America members of the America-is-evil community back McKinney.

Rush is right (it had to happen sometime): In the Wall Street Journal, Rush Limbaugh wrote:
"Clearly, Congress has an important role; Article I, section 8 of the Constitution states that Congress has power "to declare war." And on Sept. 14, 2001, Congress passed a joint resolution which states, in part, that "the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States."
Not much to argue with there. Congress gave George W. all the legal authority he needs. But a full declaration of war on the nation of Iraq will give Bush greater moral authority. It will send a message to our enemies and our allies that we are serious. It sends a sessage to those nations now or considering hosting al Qaeda cells: "Do it, and its your ass. No more 'measured responses.' No more lobbing a few bombs at a factory. Your nation will be deprived of its sovereignity. Your government will be replaced with one more to our liking, just lke the last time we declared war."
Thanks to camPC for the link.

Lincoln Bedroom for rent again: Clinton was lambasted for exchanging overnight stays in the Lincoln bedroom for contributions. Where is the righteous indignation from the right wing about news reports George W. does the same hting? Where are the firebreathing editorials from the Wall Street Journal?
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican fund-raisers, relatives and golfer Ben Crenshaw are among dozens of White House overnight guests President Bush and first lady Laura Bush have played host to since moving in last year.
The issue of White House sleepovers first arose in the Clinton administration when it was learned that the Democratic Party was rewarding big donors with overnight stays in the Lincoln Bedroom.
The Bushes' roughly 160 guests include at least six of President Bush's biggest fund-raisers and their families. White House spokeswoman Anne Womack said she didn't know whether donors, or any other Bush guests, have slept in the Lincoln Bedroom.
"They sleep in a variety of guest rooms in the White House," Womack said. "The president and Mrs. Bush enjoy spending time with their friends and family and have invited friends and family to stay as guests in the White House."
A half dozen Bush donors and fund-raisers known as "pioneers" are among the guests on a list released late Friday by the White House. Each raised at least $100,000 for Bush's 2000 campaign, helping him take in a record $100 million for the primary.

Think it's hard to make a nuclear bomb? Think again.

Libertarians oppose Iraq invasion: The Libertarian Party has issued a press release officially opposing the planned U.S. invasion of Iraq. Let us deconstruct pieces of this press release:
WASHINGTON, DC -- President Bush's unfolding plan to invade Iraq is totally unjustified, Libertarians say, because that nation poses no direct threat to the United States.
"Before the president risks the life of even one American soldier, he needs a reason, not an excuse," said Steve Dasbach, Libertarian Party executive director. "Unless the United States is at risk of an Iraqi military attack, Bush?s proposal to invade that nation should be denounced for what it is: reckless foreign interventionism."
Yet a full-blown war against Iraq appears inevitable, according to administration sources, after reports on Wednesday that all of Bush's top national security advisors agree on the need to topple the Iraqi dictator. The most likely scenario involves using 200,000 U.S. ground, air, and naval troops to invade Iraq as early as the winter of 2003.
But one crucial fact has been ignored in the debate, Libertarians say: Saddam has not committed an act of aggression against the United States."

I might have agreed if we were talking about the Gulf War, when U.S. soldiers were defending "American interests," mainly the free flow of oil. But we certainly are defending ourselves against a nation that sponsors attacks against us and supports al Qaeda, the terrorists who carried about the attacks on Sept. 11.
The LP believes in no first use of force. The question regarding the invasion of Iraq is this: What constitutes initiation of force? As far as most Americans are concerned force was initiated on Sept. 11, 2001.
But the Libertarians apparently have a problem. Either they believe the attack on America was deserved because we weren't minding our own business in the Mideast, or they don't believe there is a clear connection between the terrorists and nations. How can the United States declare war on a nation because of the acts perpetrated by autonomous terrorist groups?
This is why. Arabs will be the first to admit that there is an organized fundamentalist Islamic movement that hates the United States and Israel, and uses them as a scapegoat. This is why private citizens danced in the streets of so-called "Palestine" and Jordan at news of the Sept. 11 attacks.
It would be the worst sort of foolishness for the United States to act as if it is not at war with people who announce in the loudest voices possible that they are, in fact, at war with the United States. The fact that their soldiers are members of disjointed terrorist groups, housed in nations that often are at war with each other means does not negate the fact that we are in a defacto war.

"Wars that are not defensive are merely acts of aggression against sovereign nations," Dasbach said. "And wars that are launched by presidents, rather than formally declared by Congress as the Constitution requires, are illegal."
Moreover, while the U.S. government has made vague claims that the Iraqi regime has terrorist links, it has produced no public evidence specifically linking Saddam to the September 11 attacks, Dasbach pointed out.

Does the LP suggest putting Saddam on trial? Does the LP suggest revealing how this information was gathered?
I am all for requiring a formal declaration of war. I'd like to see a vote, because it would give those who oppose an invasion of Iraq a chance to stand up and be counted.

"Since Bush has no legitimate reason for waging war on Iraq, he has cobbled together a list of accusations, none of which provide sufficient justification for invading a sovereign nation and risking American lives."

No "sufficient justification?" Let us take a poll: All those who consider preventing another attack like that which happened on Sept. 11 "sufficient justification" for going to war against those who would sponsor future acts of terrorism in the United States, please raise your hand.

"For example, Bush claims that:
* Saddam Hussein is a ruthless dictator. "True enough, but there are dozens of ruthless dictators around the globe, starting with Fidel Castro; the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia; the Chinese communists; and various tyrants sprinkled throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America," Dasbach said. "Is Bush going to send troops to topple them all?"
According to Freedom House, an organization that tracks the status of democracy around the world, only 120 of the world's 192 nations are electoral democracies, Dasbach noted. "So unless Mr. Bush plans to launch strikes on the 72 other captive nations, he owes the American people an explanation as to why they should fear Iraq more than other despotic regimes," Dasbach said.

Granted, it is target-rich environment out there if one is looking for dictatorships to topple. If Egypt, Jordan, China and Cuba were the threat to the United States that Iraq is, Bush should send troops there, too. Only a fool or someone looking for a reason to oppose a reasonable act would use this excuse. We are not going to war with Iraq because Hussein is a dictator, we are going to war with them because they are the biggest and most dangerous supporter of terrorism out there, because of their proven track record.

* Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. "According to the Pentagon, 12 countries have nuclear weapons programs, 13 have biological weapons, 16 have chemical weapons and 28 have ballistic missiles," Dasbach said. "So what makes Saddam's chemical weapons more menacing than, say, Pakistan's nuclear bomb?

Because at this date, Pakistan's government is on our side in the war against the terrorists who killed thousands of Americans!

* Saddam supports terrorism. "According to the State Department's official list of terrorist sponsors, 45 nations have active al Qaeda cells," Dasbach said. "So even if terrorists are operating inside Iraq, that in itself makes Iraq no more of a threat to the United States than Malaysia, Somalia, or the Philippines."

Certainly, the intellectuals at the LPI must recognize the difference between a nation with one or several underground al Qaeda cells and those nations that actively encourage and support al Qaeda's terrorism.
The fact that there are many nations in the world doing this sort of thing strikes me as a good, not bad, reason to take on the worst and most dangerous of the lot.
They will love is when we win.

The bottom line is that Bush's wide-ranging indictment against Saddam Hussein is missing one key element: proof that Iraq poses a direct threat to the United States, Dasbach said.
"Instead of struggling to find a justification for war, Mr. Bush should be looking for a way to avoid war and avoid the needless loss of American lives that could result."

The best way to "avoid war" is not through appeasement. The best way to avoid war is to meet hostility with self defense. When does one initiate force, after the fist hits your nose? As the fist is on its way to hitting your nose? Or is it permitable - by the LPI's standards - to defend yourself when the guys' fist is first raised back in anger.

UPDATE: I am lucky I remembered this site. Ayn Rand created the philosophy of Objectivism. It is from this area of thought that Libertarians derive their belief in "no first use of force." The Ayn Rand Institute believes that we should "End States Who Sponsor Terrorism." Don't tell that to Harry Browne, the LPI's presidential candidate in 2000. He would denounce her as a war-mongering statist.